The bulleted list below represents Johnsonburg’s policy regarding transgender guests, guests and staff
Johnsonburg strives to create a fully inclusive culture and environment that values equality and fosters respect for all people. We understand Christian spirituality as a shared journey from which no one should be excluded. In alignment with our values, vision and mission, Johnsonburg welcomes all persons, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, as guests and as full participants in all our programs.
Youth is a time of exploration and identity formation. We aim to help guests consider what it means to live a Christian life and how God is working in them, at Johnsonburg, and in the world. We encourage our guests to develop self-confidence, embrace their creativity, explore their surroundings and create relationships with those that may be different from them.
During childhood and adolescents deeply held aspects of identity like one’s gender or sexual orientation can be questioned. Children and youth’s exploration of their identities and interests is a normal part of their development. That’s why we believe that it is essential to allow children to consider different identities in a safe and affirming environment. Johnsonburg embraces diversity and we welcome all children to camp and hope that through their experience, they will discover more about the person they want to become.
The arc of scripture and the work and witness of Jesus Christ support accepting people as they are. There are people in scripture who defy gender norms and are accepted–the eunuch who was baptized by Philip and is credited with starting the church in Ethiopia (Jesus also called for acceptance of eunuchs) and Deborah, the female judge and warrior. Just as Jesus called for the acceptance of these individuals Johnsonburg welcomes all LGBTQ people to participate fully in our programs with this statement of inclusivity.
Who determines the gender of Johnsonburg guests?
The parent or guardian indicates the gender of the child and submits this during the registration process.
Which bathroom do guests use?
Guests use the bathroom that corresponds with their stated gender. Any guest who has a need or desire for increased privacy, regardless of the underlying reason, should be provided access to a single user restroom. However, no guest shall be required to use such a restroom because they are transgender or gender nonconforming. If another child, or a parent of another child, express discomfort with sharing space with an transgender youth, that child can use a separate, private space. The transgender young person should be allowed to use the facilities they are comfortable with. The burden of prejudice should never rest on the child who is the target of that prejudice.
How are guests housed at Johnsonburg?
Guests typically sleep in lodging according to their gender. Note: There is not a “one-size-fits-all” housing policy for transgender youth. It is vitally important to openly communicate with the youth about their needs and desires in order to create the best solution. Some transgender youth may feel more comfortable housing with the gender that correlates with their full time presentation and identity, others with their assigned birth sex. Some may want to room with a few select friends and some, if given the option, may prefer their own room. Again, it is important to work with the youth to create an accommodation that best suits everyone. If parents of another guest or another guest expresses discomfort with sharing space with an transgender youth, staff should look for other lodging options so that child can be housed in another space.
How does Johnsonburg address privacy when it comes to changing clothes, showering and swimwear?
Johnsonburg requires that all guests change clothes in private areas and discourages nudity or disrobing directly in front of staff or other guests. All our showers are single occupancy and each has a private undressing/dressing area where guests can have privacy while changing and showering. Our swimwear policy allows guests to be comfortable, while covering private areas. Guests may wear clothing over the top of their swimsuit if they choose.
Will Johnsonburg inform parents of guests if their children are assigned to the lodging area with a transgender guest?
Simply put, no. Campers are always supervised at Johnsonburg so there are not any apparent safety concerns or legal issues regardless of which bunk a guest is assigned.
How do these policies relate to summer staff?
We fill staff vacancies and assign staff lodging/counseling responsibilities based on summer staff applicants self-identified gender.
Is it required for a parent/guardian to disclose to Johnsonburg staff upon registering that their child is transgender?
It is not required that a parent/guardian inform Johnsonburg staff that their child is transgender. However, Johnsonburg prefers that parents, if comfortable, indicate that their guest is transgender when they register for camp. Being made aware of a transgender guest will allow our staff to be prepared so we can put forth our best efforts to help the child have a positive experience at camp.
What Johnsonburg staff members will be made aware of a transgender guest?
Staff will not discuss the gender of a guest in any situation where it is not pertinent or appropriate to do so. (Calling attention to something that is particularly EXCLUSIVE is not in keeping with the INCLUSIVE nature of the camp environment we create.) The camp will work with parents to ensure that disclosure happens consistent with the camper or guest’s needs and comfort level.
How will staff be informed of this policy and be prepared to host a transgender guest?
Staff training will include a session regarding transgender guests. This policy will be discussed, along with rationale and training for providing transgender guests (and every guest) with an emotionally and physically safe environment.